Lancaster Pennsylvania mayor Rick Gray is outraged. Outraged I tell you! The state legislature is debating a law which would punish municipalities for breaking the law. Pennsylvania has statewide gun law preemption which means that local governments can’t make and enforce their own gun laws, which in turn means that gun owners can drive from one town to another without worrying that they will be breaking the law somewhere on the trip. Only one problem . . .

But the preemption law hasn’t kept a number of Keystone State cities from passing various, well, illegal laws. A particular favorite is the “lost or stolen” law which requires  gun owners to inform police within 24 (or sometimes 48) hours of discovering a missing weapon. The ostensible idea behind these laws is similar to the “one-gun-a-month” laws; to keep straw buyers from plying their trade.

Practicality and reality aren’t mainstays of hoplophobes’ thinking. Nor, apparently, is following the laws themselves. The thought of having to actually face consequences for their scofflaw regulations is enough to break through the purple sky of their make-believe world and so they are kicking up a fuss at having to actually obey the laws.

Gray noted the opposition to the measure from the state’s law enforcement community.

“Quite frankly, I think it’s pathetic that they pander to people whose interest is not public safety, but some ethereal interest in the right to a gun,” the mayor said.

He condemned the legislators for penalizing cities financially rather than responding to the financial crisis many Pennsylvania cities are facing.

In the words of my friend’s Tia Anna, pobrecitos.

Meanwhile, here’s the kicker: philly.com reports that the cops aren’t even enforcing the mandatory reporting requirement anyway. Does that mean they want to see the back of it? Does it hell.

Lt. Raymond Ever said the lack of citations doesn’t reflect any conscious decision not to enforce the ordinance.

Rather, “straw purchasers,” people who buy guns legally and then sell or give them to criminals, already face strict penalties when caught, so “a minor fine” piled onto the punishment they already face isn’t needed, he said. In Philly, people who don’t report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours face fines of up to $2,000 and 90 days in jail.

So . . .

Citations aren’t the point, Evers added. Rather, the ordinance serves as a public-education tool and incentive “to the good guys, the 99 percent of gun owners who are very, very responsible” to report lost or stolen firearms immediately.

So it’s an unenforced (perhaps unenforceable) punitive law designed to “educate” lawful gun owners about a requirement which has no appreciable effect on public safety. So now you know.

15 Responses to Rick Gray Doesn’t Like Making Illegal Laws Illegal

  1. No surprise here. Antis don’t care about the Constitution, the US’s founding principles and values, individual rights, the necessity of self-defense, facts, logic, or responsibility. Why should they care about laws? We all know antis are the very essence of wannabe-tyranny and narcissism, does anyone expect them to support laws that get in the way of their quest for oppression?

    • We all know antis are the very essence of wannabe-tyranny

      Silver, if they were just wannabes, we wouldn’t be so pissed. We’d be laughing at them. They’re actually petty despots, and we despise them for what they are, not what they try to be.

  2. So it’s “an unenforced (perhaps unenforceable) punitive law designed to “educate” lawful gun owners about a requirement which has no appreciable effect on public safety” vs. an “ethereal” constitutional right.

    Lancaster needs better candidates for mayor (and legislature). Perhaps the job description should include “logical thinking and respect for the Constitution required.” You would think that wouldn’t be necessary…

  3. Somewhat off topic but on the same vein… Michigan has the same type of preemption laws and the township where I live has an ordinance prohibiting guns on any township owned property, clearly in violation of Michigan statute/law. There’s a lot of public land around here owned by the township that, by ordinance, I’m not allowed to carry on (concealed or otherwise). I pointed it out to the planning commission and, while they were very nice to deal with, they essentially blew me off.

    Even though the law is not enforced (as far as I know), I’d like to see it corrected. Does anyone know another avenue I could take to prompt change?

      • Hunger strike!
        Do it from home, not jail. No fines or court appearances.
        The cheaper way to accomplish nothing.

      • It’s crossed my mind… but I don’t have the cojones to test out their willingness to enforce the law and then have the charges (hopefully) thrown out in court in order to get them to change.

      • An actual lawyer should confirm this, but I don’t think you’d be able sue unless you had standing, which would mean being cited for violating the law. So you’d have to have a gun stolen, fail to report it in the allotted time, and get dinged for that. Then you’d be able to sue.

    • Got any friends who are lawyers? Get one to send a letter, on firm letterhead, to the city attorney, informing them of the law and their violation of it. Florida has had a preemption statute on the books since 1987, and it was largely ignored by municipalities until a couple years ago, when gun owner’s groups started chasing them. A new law passed in October of last year put teeth in the preemption statute, providing for fines for local officials who fail to comply, and giving gun owners a right to sue for damages if they feel their rights have been violated.

      In one case about two years ago, a member at floridaconcealedcarry.com, who is also an attorney, spent about 6 months sending letters to municipalities all over the state questioning the “no guns allowed” signs that were posted at many city/county parks. He covered probably two dozen city/county governments, at probably a 95% success rate in getting the signs changed/removed. Note that this was before the punitive statute went into effect, so it wasn’t threat of punishment that got them to do it, it was simply someone with a big voice (and potential to cause big nuisance) pointing it out.

  4. From the purest of ether— the following declaration and limitation imposed on powers afforded to government is hereby conjured:

    Pennsylvania Constitution Article I, Section 21
    The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

  5. We had the same issue in Ohio. When CCW went into effect, several cities and towns passed illegal ordinances, or kept in force such ordinances, in violation of state law and the state constitution. Toledo was one of these cities.

    I spent about a year trying to convince these tyrants that they could not do what they were doing, to no avail.

    On April 9, 2005, one year and one day after CCW went into effect, I held a very well-publicized “Pistol Packin’ Picnic” in a Toledo city park.

    Read the following VERY CAREFULLY, and keep in mind that according to Toledo officials, it was against the law for a mere peon to have a weapon in a city park.

    Police officers showed up at my picnic. I informed the officers of who I was, that I was licensed by the state to carry concealed weapons, and that I was carrying, thus fulfilling my obligation under law to inform them.

    I was asked for my .45, which I gave to the officers. I was then presented with a citation into municipal court for “weapon in a park” under an obscure park regulation (bear in mind that the regulation in question was never passed as part of the municipal code). Then, THEY GAVE ME MY GUN BACK, FULLY LOADED AND LOCKED. I have all of this on video.

    Several things occurred: my rights and abilities were violated under the state constitution and Ohio Revised Code. The officers, and several other city officials, including the mayor, police chief, law director, park director, and others, were guilty of conspiracy to interfere with a civil right (a felony), dereliction of duty, abuse of power under color of law, etc. ad nauseum. I filed criminal charges against all parties, which the city prosecutor, one David Tosca, refused to investigate (dereliction of duty). Mr. Tosca is now a municipal court judge. I’d advise you all to stay out of Toledo.

    I was convicted of this minor misdemeanor (equal to a parking ticket). My conviction was upheld on appeal in a very convoluted, 2-1 split decision. I appealed to the state supreme court, which refused to hear my case, although explaining that I was right and the city was wrong.

    The state legislature revisited the CCW statutes, and, not liking what the cities and towns were doing, modified the law(s) for clarification, and passed a preemption statute, which was later challanged, and upheld, twice, by the supreme court.

    I consider this a win, even with the conviction. And I still refuse to pay the fine as a matter of principle. Sure, I took a gamble. Life is filled with uncertainties, but if we don’t try, we can’t win. Screw the tyrants.

    For more info, Google “Bruce Beatty Concealed Carry Ohio”.

    p.s. – The day I held my “Pistol Packin’ Picnic”, then-mayor Jack Ford held a rally to kick off his re-election campaign. Guess who was #1 on the 6 o’clock news? (and it wasn’t his majesty) He wound up getting his a$$ handed to him in the election. More icing on the cake.

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